Home Cars 14 Best Muscle Cars and Muscle Trucks To Invest in

14 Best Muscle Cars and Muscle Trucks To Invest in

Vukasin Herbez December 25, 2017

Born in the mid-60s, muscle cars present a more affordable alternative for performance-oriented youthful drivers. The idea behind a muscle car is simple. Introduce an inexpensive but fast car by using mass-produced engines, components and platforms with fresh designs and sporty details. The plan worked out perfectly and today, muscle cars are the legends of the car industry and the objects of desire of many enthusiasts all over the world.

However, due to demand, the prices of classic models have skyrocketed. It is not unusual to see some ultra-rare models going for well over a million dollars. Even some common cars can go for $50,000 to $60,000 easily. For example, a classic 1965 Mustang 289 V8 costs approximately $3,500 when it was new. Today, the market value of a quality restored or perfectly preserved example exceeds $40,000. This increase means the Mustang V8 has gone more than 10 times up in value.

Fortunately, you can still cash in on the trend. You just need to be clever and invest in more modern muscle cars, rare versions and limited editions. Then all you have to do is wait for a few years until the prices start to rise. Are you wondering which cars will be future classics? Keep reading this list of 14 modern muscle cars and trucks that are bound to be future classics. And, if the trend of rising prices continues, those vehicles will be sure money makers. So, read on and start looking at classifieds.

1. Chevrolet Corvette C4 ZR1

Chevy introduced the C4 Corvette in 1984, so it is a true 80’s classic. Its wedge-shaped body, pop up headlights, rear hatch and bright colors make this generation a true pop culture icon. However, there is much more about this car than funny stereotypes and GTA Vice City games. In fact, the Corvette C4 was the car that singlehandedly saved the Corvette from its demise caused by the recession and a lack of popularity.

In 1984, everything changed with the arrival of the C4. The car was new from the ground up, with a new chassis, engine and design. It also had a crazy digital dash in the interior. At first, it wasn’t perfect but over the years, Chevrolet managed to turn it into a world-class sports car. They improved the performance and road holding so it could rival those European exotics that were far more expensive.

Called the “King of the Hill” Corvette, the ZR1 was exactly that. When the C4 generation of America`s favorite sports car saw the light of day in 1984, it was obvious that Chevrolet hit a home run. Under the hood there was LT4, a Lotus-engineered V8 engine with 375 HP, later 400 HP, quad cam heads and 32 valves. The engine was an engineering marvel and performed exceptionally well.

With a beefed-up suspension, gearbox and pair of extra wide rear tires, the 1989 Corvette ZR1 could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, making it one of the fastest cars of the era and a true modern classic today. In 1990, they introduced the mighty ZR-1 with 400 HP and performance that could beat any Ferrari at the moment. Be sure to look for those perfectly preserved ZR1 versions since they will be the first to spike in value.

2. Oldsmobile Toronado 1966-1968

Today’s car enthusiasts may not remember Oldsmobile since they retired the brand in 2000. But back in the 60’s, this company enjoyed a reputation for inventive technology, style and luxury. Oldsmobile represented the cutting edge of GM at one point in time, presenting models far ahead of its time. Olds displayed power and style on the global market. One such infamous Oldsmobile car is the 1966 Toronado.

It was a big, powerful personal luxury coupe with a twist since it was front-wheel drive. In those days, only a few imports were front-wheel drive while all domestic cars, regardless of the class or engine, were rear-wheel drive. However, Oldsmobile wanted to introduce something else and constructed an ingenious FWD system. Designers drew a fantastic-looking shape with a low roof and hidden headlights. The power came from a big block 455 V8 with 385 HP.

The Toronado was a success because it introduced superb driving characteristics, which left competitors in the dust. The first two generations were the best, and later, the Toronado was just a Cadillac Eldorado with a different grille. Interestingly, the prices for this gem are not high. For less than $20,000 you can find a 1966 to 68 Toronado that will change your perspective on driving and handling those big American cruisers. This classic GT muscle car will rise in value in next few years.

3. Ford Mustang GT 5.0 HO

The rise in power of domestic cars during the 80’s brought the first real performance numbers to the Mustang range in almost 20 years. The Fox-body Mustang grew more powerful with each model year. By the late 80’s, the venerable 5.0-liter V8 engine was pumping 225 HP and 300 lb-ft of torque. This translated to quite competent 0 to 60 mph times.

Mustang was once again an affordable performance car with cool styling, lots of options and enough power to spin the rear wheels in any gear. That is why car fans consider the 1988 to 1993 Mustang 5.0 GT one of the best Mustangs in a long line of quality machines. This car marked a return to the roots with a strong V8 engine and exciting performance.

Also, the late 80’s Fox-body GT was popular, so they are plentiful today. This makes them a great choice for entry-level collectors. Also, the aftermarket for these cars is enormous, so you can modify and make your Fox-body GT even faster. Since they produced the 5.0 GT in big numbers, you can’t expect an enormous profit and big return on your initial investment, but it is a good way to start.

4. Buick GNX

The 80’s are generally considered the dark ages of muscle cars and American performance, but there were a few bright moments. One of the cars that restored faith in the muscle car movement in the 80’s was the mighty Buick GNX. The story of this model is an interesting one. Back in 1982, Buick started experimenting with turbocharging its line of standard V6 engines. The results were satisfying, so their engineers got permission to develop a performance version that would deliver better acceleration figures.

Soon, there was a Buick Grand National with 175 HP. This wasn’t impressive, but it was a start. In the next couple of years, the Grand National got a bigger engine and more power. It jumped from 175 HP to 200 HP, and finally to 235 HP. With those numbers came acceleration times of under six seconds. Those black Grand Nationals were seriously quick cars.

But in 1987 came the ultimate version called the GNX or Grand National Experimental. It featured the same 3.8-liter turbocharged V6, but with 275 HP and 0 to 60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. At that moment, the Buick GNX was the fastest accelerating production model in the world. At $29,000 it wasn’t a bargain, but there is a widespread legend some owners paid for these cars by street racing them for money.

Unfortunately, the Buick GNX was a one-year-only model, so the company made just 547 of them. Today, people praise these cars as much as they did back in the late 80’s. GNX prices have already gone up, so you know they will get even higher. So, this is the time to buy one of these rare and brutally quick black cars.

5. Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

Inspired by the wild SVT Cobra R’s from the 90’s, they didn’t name the 2003 model “R” since it wasn’t limited in production. In fact, it was available to the public, rather than just racing drivers and private teams. However, this SVT Cobra was an interesting, important model for the Mustang dynasty since it featured two firsts.

One was the first factory supercharged engine and the other was the independent rear suspension. SVT took the standard 4.6-liter block and mounted different heads and supercharger to produce 390 HP and 390 lb-ft of torque. They called this engine the “Terminator” and rumor was it delivered more than the advertised 390 HP.

To handle all that power and torque, Ford equipped the SVT Cobra with an independent rear suspension setup similar to the first Ford GT. This helped maintain its stability at high speeds and hard launches, making this Mustang handle like a dream. The 0 to 60 mph acceleration time took only 4.7 seconds, so the SVT Cobra was a drag strip terror.

Ford offered the SVT Cobra in 2003 and 2004, producing around 20,000 of them in coupe and convertible form. Despite being almost 15 years old, those cars still hold high prices on the used car market. And, you can bet that the price will go even higher.

6. GMC Syclone

Back in the 1980’s, GM experimented with turbocharged engines, which was in sync with the industry trends at the moment. The most famous of them all was the Buick Grand National or Buick GNX. It featured a 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 engine and under five-second 0 to 60 mph times. With that kind of firepower, those black Buicks were terrorizing the drag strips and stop lights. By the early 1990’s, the Buicks were gone, and GM engineers were looking where to install that turbo hardware.

GM decided to make a crazy sports truck out of a plebian Chevrolet S10. It was a compact pickup that came with diminutive four-cylinder power. This is how the GMC Syclone was born. GM took an ordinary S10 body shell and installed a 4.3-liter V6 with a turbocharger in it. This made it good for 280 HP.

GM also included a special four-speed automatic they sourced from a Corvette and a performance-biased all-wheel drive. The power figures don’t sound much these days, but the Syclone was able to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. These times made it faster than contemporary Ferraris. The key was its lightweight, small dimensions and lots of torque from that turbocharged engine.

Because the price was significantly higher than the regular model, they built less than 3,000 of them. And almost all came in the signature black color. Today, the GMC Syclone is a collector vehicle and a sought-after model. It is still quite fast and can hold its own against much younger and more powerful cars.

7. Ford F-150 Lightning

The 60’s were a high watermark for American performance, not only in terms of horsepower and torque ratings but also in terms of looks, style and number of interesting, fast models. After the early 70’s with the tight emission and safety laws, the power went embarrassingly down. It looked like the glory days of octane madness were gone. Fortunately, in the 90’s, American manufacturers started investing in performance and delivering faster, more powerful cars to the market.

One of those pure-performance machines was the crazy and cool F-150 Lightning. Ford conceived it in the early 90’s with only 280 HP. However, the Lightning was a performance truck with great driving dynamics. But, in 1999 with the new, totally redesigned generation of F-150 trucks, came the new Lightning. This time it was much meaner looking, aggressive and packed more firepower.

Ford installed its 5.4-liter V8 with a supercharger, which was good for 360 HP at first and 380 HP later. This was more than the previous model, and more than any truck on the market at that moment. The performance numbers were sublime. The Lightning could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds and top 140 mph. Those figures were more suited to those Porsche 911s of the period rather than a regular pickup truck that could tow just like other F-150s.

The second generation Lightning proved to be quite popular and stayed in production for five years, up to 2004. During that period, Ford`s SVT department produced over 30,000 Lightning trucks, which are fantastic numbers. This also means the SVT Lighting is relatively affordable and plentiful, so now it is the right time to buy one.

8. Ford Mustang Boss 302

Ever since the first retro Mustangs appeared in showrooms across America, Ford fans have asked for the return of the Boss 302. In case you don’t know, Ford first presented the Boss 302 in 1969 as a racing car homologation special they intended for Trans-Am races. However, 43 years later, Ford revived the Boss 302 with the new 5.0-liter Coyote V8. It delivers 444 HP and 380 lb-ft of torque.

The Boss was an almost a pure racing car with a factory-installed roll cage, no back seats, and a host of other external and internal modifications. As you would expect, the performance was better than the regular Mustang GT. The 2012 Boss 302 could accelerate to 60 mph in 3.97 seconds and top 155 mph. Until you see the future version of the Boss 302, the 2012 model is widely considered one of the best Mustangs of all time. It clearly deserves a place on this list of best investments in muscle cars and muscle trucks.

However, the modern Boss 302 was an expensive limited production model when it first came out. But since it was so good, the demand for well-preserved examples is high. So, the prices are well beyond the average 2012 Mustang GT. If you want to become the owner of a new age Boss 302, you’d better hurry since good examples will probably become expensive.

9. Chevrolet Impala SS

The Impala SS is one of the most legendary names in Chevrolet’s performance history. Chevy produced those original Impalas SS from 1961 to 1969. They presented a full-size muscle car that could beat many other performance cars on the stoplight drags. Powered by big-block engines and equipped with a close ratio four-speed transmission, the Impala SS was a street-legal drag racer of the highest order.

However, as the muscle car era came to an end, they discontinued the Impala SS, only to resurrect it in 1994 as an option as the seventh generation of this legendary model. The early 90’s marked the return to performance for most American manufacturers. So, Chevrolet installed the famous 5.7-liter LT1 V8 engine in their full-size rear-wheel drive sedan. They equipped it with a heavy-duty suspension and components, creating a modern-day muscle legend.

For two years, Chevrolet produced almost 70,000 Impala SS models in several colors. However, the most popular was the dark purple SS. The engine delivered 260 HP and propelled the big sedan to 0 to 60 mph time in just seven seconds. Although they are not spectacular numbers, for the mid-90s, those were impressive results. Since the car was reasonably-priced and popular, most owners drove it like they stole it, so quality examples are rare today. If you find one, buy it immediately.

10. Mercury Marauder

Back in the 60’s, Mercury was busy producing the Marauder. It was the high-performance version of their regular performance sedans. The model was popular, but now it is largely forgotten and shadowed by those more popular muscle cars from the same era. But 40 years later, in 2003, Mercury decided to introduce the final Marauder model they based on Ford`s venerable Panther platform cars.

Ford’s Panther platform is one of the longest-serving platforms in the car industry. They first used it in 1978 and it served until 2011. This platform underpinned many models like the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. This chassis proved sturdy and durable in extreme conditions as it was the basis for many police cars and taxis. Even today, six years after they discontinued it, millions of Panther-based models are still on the roads.

Despite the fact they never intended the Grand Marquis to be a performance car, Mercury decided to turn it into one by installing highly tuned 4.6-liter V8 with 302 HP. They also added a revised suspension, gearbox and brakes. All those changes turned this sleepy, comfy sedan into a sharp muscle car. The black paint, which was one of three colors available, gave the Marauder its menacing looks. This aggressive stance clearly differentiating the Marauder from its more sedate cousins.

The performance was impressive for a big, heavy sedan with a 0 to 60 mph time of around seven seconds. But the biggest asset was its appearance. Just the sight of a big black sedan in the rearview mirror made most people move over a lane or two.

11. Pontiac G8

The reason why this car is on this list of best investments in muscle cars and muscle trucks is simple. Car enthusiasts quickly forgot the G8. In fact, the car market dismissed it, even when it was brand new. This is a shame since it was a true-performance sedan and a proper rear-wheel-drive model. In a desperate attempt to revive its performance image, Pontiac decided to import Australian-built Holden cars and rebadge them as Pontiacs. First was the Holden Monaro, which was granted U.S. citizenship and a new-old name – the Pontiac GTO.

Despite the 400 HP engine and convincing performance, the new GTO wasn’t the success Pontiac was hoping for in the automotive marketplace. Next came the G8, which they conceived as the Holden Commodore. Pontiac thought a rear-wheel-drive sedan would help them fight their European competitors. With Pontiac’s redesign and small-block V8 engine, the G8 was an effective performance sedan, too. The base engine was a solid 3.5-liter V6 with 256 HP, but the real deal was G8 GXP with 6.2-liter V8 and 415 HP.

Also, the G8 came with a high level of standard equipment, as well as a long list of optional extras. Unfortunately, the G8 came too late, so car customers weren’t ready to accept this performance sedan that could beat those overpriced European models. After years of anemic models, front-wheel-drive economy cars and minivans of the 90’s, Pontiac lost its performance image. Only a handful of buyers remember what the G8 was capable of achieving.

So, when they finally presented a car capable of reclaiming the title of a performance brand, they ran out of time. In two years, Pontiac sold just over 30,000 G8s. Today, the prices are low, but if you find a nice G8, you can bet someday it will be worth a lot of money.

12. Dodge Ram SRT-10

Produced from 2004 to 2006, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 is one of the craziest, most powerful and fastest pickups Detroit ever produced. That is a hard thing to say since Dodge always had some wild special versions of their trucks. But, just look at the specs. The 8.2-liter V10 engine delivers over 500 HP. It has acceleration times from 0 to 60 of fewer than five seconds, yet it has fuel economy numbers in the single digits.

Top it all off with a crazy bright red or yellow paint job, two white racing stripes and big shiny chrome wheels, and you get the idea of what the SRT-10 is all about. It was something you couldn’t miss if you saw it on the street. However, with the price tag of over $45,000, the SRT-10 wasn’t a sales hit.

Even so, Dodge produced a decent number of SRT-10s in its three-year long production run. In 2005, Dodge introduced the Quad Cab option. This gave the SRT-10 another pair of doors and more practicality if you could call this truck practical. The four-speed automatic was standard, but you could also get a six-speed manual straight from the Viper to go with the engine.

Do you think the prices will go up for a Viper-powered muscle truck Dodge built in limited quantities? You can bet on it, so if you want one, start shopping now.

13. Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6

Even though Pontiac is gone, some of its models will live forever. When thinking about Pontiac, those GTOs and Firebirds are the first things that pop up in your mind. However, since they discontinued the GTO in 1974 and it returned briefly in mid-2000’s, the best Pontiac muscle car has to be the Firebird.

Pontiac presented the Firebird in 1967 and produced it until 2002 in four distinctive generations. The Firebird was a twin to the Chevrolet Camaro. Those two GM muscle cars shared platforms, engines and some body panels. But, Pontiac always tried to introduce something better than the Camaro to show the automotive world who makes the best muscle car around.

One of those attempts was the WS6. It was a factory option that turned the Firebird Trans Am into a fire-breathing muscle machine capable of destroying any competitors. Under the hood was a 5.7-liter LT1 engine they modified to produce 325 HP. With a special six-speed manual transmission, the WS6 was capable of sub-five second 0 to 60 mph acceleration times. This was revolutionary in 2002. Unfortunately, production was limited, and people didn’t realize how good the WS6 was in terms of performance. The WS6 is a future collectible, so get one while you still can.

14. Dodge Viper RT-10

They never meant to produce the Dodge Viper, but most car fans are extremely glad it was. Bob Lutz and Carroll Shelby conceived it, among other Chrysler executives and engineers. The Viper was a modern-day Shelby Cobra, but with a twist. It had more power, meaner looks and an urge to kill the driver at any given moment. The long hood, short rear end and interesting Targa top was fantastic-looking design.

This new style was quite unique in 1992 when Dodge released this car. The original Viper had an 8.0-liter V10 with 400 HP and loads of torque. Despite the updated construction, sports suspension and wide tires, the Viper easily lost control, especially on wet surfaces. The performance was brutal. A 0 to 60 sprint took just 4.6 seconds, while the top speed was 182 mph.

Despite the performance, high price and exclusivity, the original Viper was a crude car with side pipes that could burn your leg while exiting the car. It also came with a cramped interior and no trunk space. However, this car puts a smile on your face since it’s faster than any other car from the era. The prices for original Vipers are slowly rising, so hurry up and snap this piece of American sports car history.

If you are looking for the best investments in muscle cars and muscle trucks, you’d better get moving. These 14 breathtaking beasts will only go up and value and down in availability.

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